FFTA provides a long, rewarding, and addictive Tactical RPG that will appeal to fans of the series and genre.

User Rating: 8.5 | Final Fantasy Tactics Advance GBA
Marche Radiuju is a new student at a school in the town of St. Ivalice. During a quick snowball fight in school, he quickly befriends two other students named Ritz and Mewt, who each have their own set of troubles. After school that day, the trio of friends decides to hang out at Marche’s house. Mewt brings along his copy of a strange book that he recently bought, and the three of them, along with Marche’s ill brother Doned, become enthralled by the mysterious tome. Later that night while Marche is asleep, he’s transported to a strange new world. When he first arrives there, he makes a few bad first impressions and a Moogle named Montblanc shows up. After helping him out of that little tight spot, Montblanc introduces Marche to the world of Ivalice.

Ivalice is a grand world filled with monsters, magic, and of course, a corrupted government. After Montblanc gives you a slight tour of the local area, you obtain a few randomized members for your clan. You will gain and lose many clan members throughout your adventure, and you can name your clan whatever you wish. The story is pretty interesting and is presented quite well, but it’s not very deep and it doesn’t really pick up until more than halfway through the game.

Once you’ve got your clan, you can equip them with weapons, give them abilities, and change their jobs. You don’t have much to work with, but you’ll steadily gain more of all of these things over time. After you’ve done so, you head to the pub. Here you can listen to rumors and purchase information for missions. They’re different kinds of missions, some are story essential while others are not. When you feel like starting the mission, it’s time to battle.

The battle system is Final Fantasy is the highlight of the game and it’s what you’ll spend the most time doing. The fields are on a huge area with 3D-esque platforms that stack on top of each other to form stairs, mountains, buildings, etc. Of course, the different levels of elevation play a big role in the strategic element, blocking incoming arrows and other attacks. You also can’t move as far if you’re going up in height, so you’ll have to takes all these things into consideration while in battle.

You take turns while in battle, moving around the map and attacking the various foes. Your turn is dependant on the speed stat of each character; the faster you are, the sooner your turn is. There isn’t any variation to the missions. Your goal is usually just to defeat all the enemies, and things of that sort.

In every battle, except for a few rare cases, there will be a Judge watching over the fight. These chocobo-riding, armor-wearing law enforcers are there to make sure you don’t break the laws of the battle, along with a couple other duties. There are laws that are given to you before each battle. Some laws forbid you to use items, or a certain type of weapon, or certain magic. For the first part of the game, there are only two restrictions, but as you progress, that number increases. If you break a law, you get a yellow card, which serves as a warning. Break another law in the same battle, and you get a red card and are sent to prison. You can bail your unit out of prison after a battle, but it’ll cost you.

Along with laws, there are recommended actions. If you do one of the recommended actions, you receive a judge point. You also receive judge points every time you defeat an enemy. Collect judge points and you can do special moves and combos; with 10 judge points you can unleash your Totema, special summons connected to a specific race that you earn after you defeat them.

There’s a multitude of different races in Ivalice, including Humans, Moogles, and Bangaa, among others. Each race has their own specific jobs, and jobs that other races have to. All in all, there is a total of 25 different jobs, each one with a plethora of different abilities and special moves they can learn. You learn abilities by equipping weapons and armor. Missions give you different amounts of AP (Ability points), and once you gain enough AP, you master that ability so you can still use it, even if you change to a different job. There are hundreds of weapons and pieces of armor; therefore there are hundreds of different abilities.

The game looks very nice. The sprites and environments are very detailed and colorful. There are some really cool animations for magic and special moves, and the little scenes shown for the summons and Totema are just plain fun to watch. The music is very catchy, and you’ll constantly find yourself humming along to the tunes. Although most of the sound effects are cool and fit their actions quite well, there a few that just seem odd and out of place. For example, when a character dies they let out a yelping sound that similar to that of a sheep’s.

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance isn’t all that hard, though. You’ll probably only have to restart a few times during the entire course of the game. That being said, it’s a very lengthy piece of software. It can take up 70 hours to complete the game, depending on how much you collect and complete. There are about 300 missions, plus a ton of extra stuff to do like collecting all of the bonus characters and getting them to join your party. If you’re looking for a lengthy and addictive tactical RPG to satisfy your strategic cravings, then look no further than Final Fantasy Tactics Advance.